October 22 2018
This is what endurance horses do between endurance rides
Riding the Rim Trail, we have a long, scenic view down into the Hart Creek drainage. Between the crumbly cliffs of the rim and the crick is a maze of hills and washes, what looks like an old travertine hot spring hill, and a hidden jumble of bentonite** sculptures, the leftovers from a long-ago eroded lake-bed sediment. I call the sculptures the Dragon's Backbone.
Carol and I hiked there once, from the top down. You've got to find the right ridge to climb down, or else you'll lose your footing and slide…. a very long hide-ripping, tumbling way down.
Finding the Dragon from the bottom up is a game of hide and seek, because one cliff face looks like another, as does one hill from another, and who knows which hidden box canyon the Dragon hides behind?
We managed to catch just a glimpse of a bentonite outcrop on our regular Hart Crick trail, so we angled off cross country, bush-whacking our way to the hidden treasures. Hillbillie Willie was all for this new exploring adventure with his pal August, going places where (possibly) no horse has gone before.
Around behind a hill, the white monster appeared, growing out of the ground as we picked our way toward it, and Willie's eyes bulged in disbelief and wonder. What magic is this!?
We found names carved on one of the white mushroom rocks, some dating back to November of 18… was that really November of 1918???? Or someone modern but totally confused about the date? There were settlers living on this crick a hundred years and more ago; we ride regularly by one of the homesteads built into a hillside.
We ended up discovering deer trails leading us in a winding path (with some steep climbs!) back up onto the rim.
Willie still loves being an explorer, and he was so fascinated by the secret Dragon's Backbone that he decided he wants to be a geologist in his next life.
*Old Explorers is, by the way, a fabulous older movie, if you can get your hands on it
**Bentonite? I don't know for sure, I'm not a geologist. But Hillbillie Willie will be able to tell you for sure in his next life.